Avoid These Common Spring Boating Goof-Ups
With boat yards, back yards, marinas and clubs coming to life, spring commissioning time has arrived. Here are some mistakes employees of BoatUS have made when getting their boats ready for the water. Learn from them and don’t make the same mistakes yourself.
- The battery goof-up: “When reconnecting my batteries I missed one of the ground wires that had slipped down behind the battery box. I noticed something was wrong when the trim/tilt worked fine but the motor would not start. With so many cables going to multiple batteries, I’m taking a photo this year of how things are properly attached so next spring things go as planned.” – Mike in BoatUS Marine Insurance
- The safety gear goof-up: “We remove a lot of gear to store inside each winter, but realized after leaving the dock not all had made it back aboard. Now I download a checklist of required safety equipment and inventory everything to ensure it gets put back on the boat before launch day. I also check the dates on my flares and ensure my extinguisher is in the green zone.” – Margaret in BoatUS Executive Office
- The boat trailer goof-up: “Winter plays havoc on boat trailers, and I once departed the parking lot without checking my trailer lights. Thankfully, just a short distance away another motorist advised me of the issue. Now I make sure all is well before departing and also check tires and inspect the bearings and brakes.” – Ted in BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water
- The transom drain plug goof-up: “If you have a trailerable boat with a transom drain plug, take the plug now and attach it to the boat’s throttle control or steering wheel so it will be impossible for you not to notice to install it before launching. Yes, this does happen. I know. Nothing gets your attention more than a little water around your ankles.” – Chris in BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water
- The rushing to get it done goof-up: “Every spring, boat sinking claims start to come in. Nearly always you can chalk it up to rushing to get it done. I take my time inspecting engine hoses and hoses clamps, the bilge pump, stern-drive boot, clean out scuppers and double check the through-hulls and sea strainer. I once found a plastic through-hull for a sink drain at the waterline that initially looked fine, but it was only until I took the time for a closer inspection that I found it was cracked nearly in half on the inside.” – Scott in BoatUS Public Affairs
- The battery goof-up no. 2: “While this did not happen to me personally, it’s something we see in the claims department every spring: hooking up the battery backwards, causing reverse polarity and a massive electrical short or fire.” – Kerry in BoatUS Marine Insurance
BoatUS has a no cost Spring Fitting Out Safety Checklist ready to print at www.BoatUS.com/springchecklist and comes with the BoatUS towing app that includes tips for a range of boat types.